Jessica Ennis-Hill defends ex-coach amid Sheffield F-word row

Jessica Ennis-Hill has praised her ex-coach after he was accused of launching a foul-mouthed tirade at a former athlete in Sheffield

Thursday, 2nd March 2017, 6:03 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:04 am
Jessica Ennis-Hill with her ex-coach Toni Minichiello

Toni Mincihiello trained Sheffield's Olympic hero on her path to heptathlon gold at London 2012 and silver in Rio last summer, before her retirement.

He was last month given a written warning by British Athletics after being accused of telling an unnamed female athlete at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield 'You’re not allowed on this track, f*** off, f*** off, f*** off'.

The Sheffield-born coach, whose father was a steelworker, has described the claim as 'insulting and inaccurate'.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Ms Ennis-Hill offered him her backing, reportedly telling Standard Sport that while she didn't witness the alleged row, she was 'very lucky' to have had such an 'amazing coach'.

“Everyone knows full well we could have an up-and-down relationship like any coach and athlete, but it was a great working relationship and we understood each other really well. He was an amazing coach, and he’s been a big part of my career and my whole life," she told the paper.

"Sure, we’d have days where we’d shout at each other but we’d know when to walk away or have a blazing argument. We got on pretty well most of the time, and always understood each other very well."

Mr Minichiello has said the alleged row which landed him in hot water was probably 'one argument in 15 years of a relationship' and did not reflect his relationship with his athletes.

He said his record of supporting Ms Ennis-Hill and defending her against criticism showed his true character and respect for women's athletics.